Even employment has its disadvantages. Recently, the start of a new semester at the college where I work conflicted with Microsoft’s Tech Week Professional Trainer Conference, February 6 to 11 in New Orleans. Trading war stories with my fellow trainers would have been fun, and I no doubt would have made an appearance on Bourbon Street to experience the pre-Mardi Gras festivities. But alas, the welfare of my students was more important (as was my next paycheck).

However, much of my disappointment subsided after Microsoft announced last week that it's making its Tech Week Post-Event DVD available to Certified Technical Education Centers (CTECs), Authorized Academic Training Program institutions (AATPs), and Microsoft Certified Trainers (MCTs) who were unable to attend the conference. (CTECs, AATPs, and MCTs can read about the offer here.) If you qualify, you can buy the DVD for $600. Trainers in underdeveloped countries can buy it for $399 (sorry, US and Canadian developers don’t qualify for this discount).

I felt sticker shock until I looked at the DVD's contents, which include 20 Microsoft Official Curriculum (MOC) Trainer Kits. According to Microsoft, these kits "are an invaluable resource packed with whitepapers, videos, set-up guides, and other materials to enable you to successfully set-up your classroom. These kits are the same ones you would normally purchase for $150 USD each but will be included on your DVD for free!" The kits are

  • 827A Administering Microsoft Systems Management Server 2.0
  • 828A Deploying and Supporting Microsoft Systems Management Server 2.0
  • 1502B Designing and Implementing a Data Warehouse Using Microsoft SQL Server 7.0
  • 1535A Analyzing and Tuning Microsoft Windows 2000 and Microsoft BackOffice Server 4.5 Performance
  • 1560B Updating Support Skills from Microsoft Windows NT to Windows 2000
  • 1561B Designing a Microsoft Windows 2000 Directory Services Infrastructure
  • 1562B Designing a Microsoft Windows 2000 Networking Services Infrastructure
  • 1567B Pre-installing and Deploying Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional
  • 1569A Updating Administration and Support Skills from Microsoft Exchange Server 5.x to Microsoft Exchange 2000
  • 1593A Building Collaborative Solutions by Using Microsoft Outlook 2000
  • 1594B Installing and Configuring Microsoft Windows 2000 File, Print & Web Servers
  • 1639A Overview of Microsoft Solutions Framework
  • 2000B Microsoft Windows 2000: First Look
  • 2010A Designing a Microsoft Windows 2000 Migration Strategy
  • 2013A Optimizing Microsoft SQL Server 7.0
  • 2018A Creating and Customizing Team Folders
  • 2151A Microsoft Windows 2000 Network and Operating System Essentials
  • 2152A Implementing Microsoft Windows 2000 Professional and Server
  • 2153A Implementing a Microsoft Windows 2000 Network Infrastructure (Beta)
  • 2154A Implementing and Administering Microsoft Windows 2000 Directory Services (Beta)

The DVD also includes four Microsoft Learning Solutions Group (LSG) courses, which Microsoft uses to train technical support staff such as its field system engineers. Written by Microsoft experts, the LSG courseware is "geared toward the technical support professional and contains more in depth technical information." The four LSG courses included in the Tech Week DVD are

  • Microsoft Windows 2000 Specialty Networking—For Support Professionals who support Windows 2000 (Win2K) network solutions that implement Network Driver Interface Specification NDIS 5.0, TCP/IP stack enhancements, IP Security (IPSec), Multicast Routing, Quality of Service (QoS), Internet Authentication Service (IAS), and Remote Access Policies (RAP).
  • Microsoft Exchange 2000 Migration Architecture—For engineers who support or create solutions for migrating foreign mail systems to Exchange 2000.
  • Microsoft Exchange 2000 Routing and Transport—For engineers who support Exchange 2000’s SMTP transport protocol features .
  • MDX Programming—For engineers who support or create solutions using Microsoft SQL Server 7.0 OLAP Services.

The DVD also includes the following Microsoft products:

  • Windows 2000 Professional (Win2K Pro) (a 120-day evaluation)
  • Windows 2000 Server (Win2K Server) (a 120-day evaluation)
  • Windows 2000 Advanced Server (Win2K AS) Release Candidate 2 (RC2)
  • Outlook 2000 Evaluation Edition
  • Exchange 2000 Server Beta 3
  • Visio 2000 Enterprise Edition
  • Systems Management Server (SMS) 2.0
  • SQL Server Enterprise 7.0
  • Windows NT 4.0 Enterprise Edition

I now have a good excuse to buy that DVD player, and it's clearly a business expense. So if you’ve hesitated to join the MCT ranks, now’s the time to sign up for your train-the-trainer course, which I wrote about in a September column.